Salomon Adv Skin 5 Hydration Vest Gear Review

By Dana Kerr

Dana Kerr wearing the Salmon Adv Skin 5 Set Hydration Vest.

The Salomon Adv Skin 5 Hydration Vest is my first ever running vest, and I am impressed. I’ve worn it on a variety of adventures, from thru-hiking the Enchantments this October to trail running at Ski Hill and walking my dog around the neighborhood. The soft outer material and breathable mesh lining make for a comfortable and secure fit. The vest comes with two soft 17 oz water bottles at purchase and offers multiple places for runners and hikers to store their poles. This vest has instantly transformed how I enjoy running – being able to pack snacks, tuck away layers, and hydrate on the go has been a game changer.

“No-slosh” technology at work. Look at how all the air is removed from the bottle.

My most favorite feature of the Salomon Adv Skin 5 vest is what I call the “no slosh technology.” When you take a sip, all of the air is removed from the inside of the bottle, as shown in the image. This makes it so you can hardly hear or feel the water moving around. The lids lock on tightly to prevent leaking and both flask pockets on the vest have a rubber band feature at the top that fits over the lid to hold it in place. The whole system is genius! You can drink as you move, and when the time comes to refill, the bottles slide in and out very easily, even when the other front pockets are fully loaded. The vest also has an insulated back pocket to fit a hydration bladder if you prefer. The vest as a whole has minimal to no bounce as you run, depending on how you have it adjusted and loaded. In my experience, the “no slosh technology” allows me to focus on the sound of my breathing rather than hearing liquids bounce around.

This vest’s storage capacity also amazes me. I have the 5L version, as compared to the 8L or 12 L, and I was shocked by how much my vest could hold for my hike through the Enchantments this October. For this particular trip, my 5 liter vest allowed me to carry the following:

  • Two 500ml soft flasks
  • iPhone
  • Car key
  • 2 pint-sized ziploc bags full of cheez-its, pretzels, and trail mix
  • A full hoagie!
  • 2 energy gels
  • 1 pack of energy chews
  • Electrolyte tablets
  • 6 protein / dried fruit bars
  • Headlamp
  • Chapstick
  • Wind/rain jacket
  • Mid-weight fleece
  • Long-sleeve base layer
  • Sunscreen
  • Baseball hat
  • Warm headband
  • Medical tape

My hiking partner wore a Salomon Active Skin 12L which allowed her to carry a water filter and med kit. I was able to stow extra layers and grab quick snacks thanks to the kangaroo-pouch back and side pockets. And my keys and phone felt extra secure in the front zipper pocket.

On a more typical day, I don’t take full advantage of all the storage, usually bringing only 1 of the bottles and my phone. This vest is perfect for short to mid-distance runners and hikers, especially when the seasons are changing. It allows you to remove or add layers, gloves, hats, etc. as you go without wearing them around your waist. Plus, I know I can pack a full picnic in it when I just feel like going for a stroll.

While the numerous adjustment straps provide a secure fit, I have noticed the potential for chafing along my neck and lower rib cage. The vest is designed to rest comfortably between the top of my collarbone and shoulder, which it easily does when I am wearing a layer or two. But when I tighten the vest over a t-shirt or tank top, the fit becomes more narrow and I can feel the shoulder straps starting to irritate the sides of my neck. My solution is to loosen the vest slightly and realign the shoulder straps so they are further from my neck. The vest still feels secure when I do this and I’m back to hardly noticing that I am wearing it at all. Just keep in mind that if you are looking for a hydration vest to wear with tank tops, sports bras, or no top at all, the edges of the straps may irritate your skin.

One last note on cleaning your vest: I’m the type of person who waits weeks to unpack after a trip. So naturally, I hung my vest in my closet after our Enchantment thru-hike with all my garbage and food inside and forgot about it for 2 weeks. To my surprise, it didn’t smell and it was completely dry! That being said, caring for your hydration vest is easy. For the vest, just hand wash it with detergent and allow it to dry naturally. The best part, the soft flasks are top-shelf dishwasher safe.

To sum up why I love the Salomon Adv Skin 5 Hydration Vest…

Benefits

  • Comfortable, secure fit
  • Adjustable for different body types and layers
  • Two soft flasks included; compatible with hydration bladder
  • Flasks are easy to insert even when pack is loaded
  • Liquids do not slosh and other contents remain in place
  • Storage capacity; comes as a 5L, 8L, 12L
  • Pockets all the way around the front, sides, and back
  • Zipper pocket in the front for keys, phone, etc.
  • Women-specific fit available for different chest sizes and torso lengths

Drawbacks

  • Cost: retail price is $140, but I have seen it on sale for $60
  • Potential for chafing
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